In April 2020, industry leader Eat Out launched the Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund.
The Fund will contribute to help restaurants pay their staff and buy food, so they can continue putting meals on the tables of hungry families. Eat Out hopes to help them remain operational, so they can reopen their doors as viable businesses when the time comes.
Applications have come from all over the country – from Durban to Joburg, Cape Town to East London, Graskop to Melkbosstrand. Since the launch on 24 April, 27 restaurants have received sums ranging from R20,000 to R50,000, depending on the number of meals they prepare each day, and there’s a queue of more restaurants waiting to get started the moment more donations drop into the Fund.
Donations have come mainly from ordinary individuals who love eating out and want to support restaurants that have given them such memorable experiences, with a handful of corporates adding the big numbers. The Fund is being administered by Community Chest.
“This entire situation is very overwhelming,” said Alexandre Torrao from Eighty8’s Food Co in Northcliff, Joburg, on receiving a grant from the Fund yesterday. “This is going to save part of our business, it’s going to help feed people, and it’s going to help me keep my staff. As an SME, we really appreciate it.”
Teams in the kitchens and those involved with distribution say they’re feeling an incredible sense of purpose at being able to help in the face of lockdown’s uncertainties.
“It feels great to be back at work again and be able to help our community,” said Wesley Gibson of Canimambo Restaurant in Graskop, Mpumalanga. “Sitting at home not knowing when lockdown would end, or when you’d get an income again – that was a real low.”
Jeremy Astfalck is a Franschhoek businessman helping with food distribution in the valley. “So much can move you to tears every day. There was one morning where the food delivery was late, so the children were all sitting waiting on the pavement. Can you imagine the impact of 100 children spontaneously bursting into Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika? We can’t let these children down.”
David Schneider, chef patron of Chefs Warehouse at Maison in Franschhoek, has also been moved by the experience. “To be able to open up the restaurant and cook for those in dire need of food, looking at their faces and the reactions we’re getting … it’s extraordinary,” he said. “In a time when it feels like all change is bad, you’re reminded that by doing something small, by adding value to the community around you, some change in the darkest of times can lead to growth, to new opportunities.”
This article was previously published on help.eatout.co.za.
Visit Eat Out to learn more about the Restaurant Relief Fund, donations and how to apply for funding.